Drone Swarm Project Lead - Request for Proposal

Remote (US or Europe)
Contract /
The Future of Life Institute (FLI) is looking for a project lead to create technical demonstrations of autonomous drone swarms. These demonstrations will support our advocacy for an international treaty on autonomous weapons systems.

FLI works to reduce global catastrophic risks from transformative technologies and develop optimistic yet realistic visions of the future. FLI has long promoted governance of autonomous weapons systems, has published several open letters calling for urgent legally binding rules, and has actively participated in UN deliberations. We also launched the Slaughterbot videos, receiving over 7.5 million views, to educate the public on the risks of these weapons systems.

Proposals are due Sunday, May 12, 2024.  We will review all proposals after that deadline.

As Drone Swarm Project Lead, you will:

    • Create technical demonstrations of multi-agent autonomous drones
    • Produce timely progress reports 
    • Upon project completion, travel to several locations in Europe and the US to set up and monitor the systems for live demos

Required Qualifications:

    • A portfolio demonstrating experience creating and managing drones that are autonomous and interact with each other in multi-agent mode without direct human control
    • Experience in leading a team, and/or project management 
    • Availability for weekly or bi-weekly update meetings
    • Based in a timezone between GMT-8 to GMT+2 (For example, in the US or Europe)

Preferred Qualifications:

    • A graduate degree in robotics, machine learning, engineering or similar

Application Process: Please submit your resume and a proposal for how you would complete this project (2-page maximum.) The proposal should include:

    • A description of your proposed deliverable, including a minimum of three multi-agent autonomous drones, and how they could be used for demonstrations to the public and other stakeholders
    • A detailed project plan and timeline of how you will get there
    • A staffing plan (if you believe additional staff beyond yourself is required)
    • Preliminary budget for materials and staffing
Cover letters are optional. If your resume does not show your experience working with multi-agent autonomous drones, please include that in the cover letter section. 

About the Future of Life Institute
Founded in 2014, FLI is an independent non-profit working to steer transformative technology towards benefiting life and away from extreme large-scale risks. Our work includes grantmaking, educational outreach, and policy engagement.

Our work has been featured in The Washington Post, Politico, Vox, Forbes, The Guardian, the BBC, and Wired.

Some of our achievements include:
- Pause Giant AI Experiments, an open letter calling for a 6 month pause on the training of AI systems more powerful than GPT-4. The letter has been signed by more than 30,000 people, including Yoshua Bengio, Stuart Russell, Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak, Yuval Noah Harari, and Andrew Yang.
- The Asilomar AI Principles, one of the earliest and most influential sets of AI governance principles. 
- Slaughterbots, a viral video campaign raising awareness about the dangers of autonomous weapons.
- The Future of Life Award, which retrospectively awards unsung heroes who made the world a better place. Past winners include individuals who prevented nuclear wars, helped to eradicate smallpox, and solved the ozone crisis.
- Worldbuild.ai, which imagines flourishing futures with strong AI and works out how to get there.

FLI is a largely virtual organization, with a team of 25 distributed across Europe and the US. We have offices in Campbell, California and in Brussels, Belgium, and meet in person as a full team twice a year.